Chaucer and His Poetry: Lectures Delivered in 1914 on the Percy Turnbull Memorial Foundation in the Johns Hopkins University

By George Lyman Kittredge | Go to book overview

IV
TROILUS

CHAUCER is known to everybody as the prince of story-tellers, as incomparably the greatest of our narrative poets. Indeed, if we disregard the epic, which stands in a class by itself, I do not see why we should hesitate to call him the greatest of all narrative poets whatsoever, making no reservation of era or of language. His fame began in his own lifetime, and was not confined, even then, to the limits of his native country. It has constantly increased, both in area and in brilliancy, and was never so widespread or so splendid as at the present day. Besides, he is a popular poet, and this popularity -- more significant than mere reputation -- has grown steadily with the gradual extension of the reading habit to all sorts and conditions of men.

To most readers, however, Chaucer means only the Canterbury Tales; and even so, it is with but half-a-dozen of the pilgrims that they are intimately acquainted. This is manifest destiny, which it would be ridiculous to deplore: "What wol nat be, mot nede be left." Nor should we lament what Sir Thomas Browne calls

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Chaucer and His Poetry: Lectures Delivered in 1914 on the Percy Turnbull Memorial Foundation in the Johns Hopkins University
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface iii
  • Contents v
  • I - THE MAN AND HIS TIMES 1
  • II - THE BOOK OF THE DUCHESS 37
  • III - THE HOUSE OF FAME 73
  • IV - TROILUS 108
  • V - THE CANTERBURY TALES -- I 146
  • VI - THE CANTERBURY TALES -- II 181
  • Index 219
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